Fruit Drinks: How to help for health?
Fruit drinks are popularly used in most urban households. Historically, the use of fruit juices began with consumption of orange juice, as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. However, today markets are flooded with a large variety of juices e.g., mango, apple, guava, litchi, grape, pineapple, etc.
The main reason for increased consumption is changing lifestyles and rising level of health consciousness among consumers and parents.
They believe that these drinks provide superior nutrition because of their fortified status and high beverage cost. Child preference, easy availability,
convenience, naturalness and marketing strategies have given fruit drink industry a booming growthRecent pesticide issue of soft drinks has further augmented sales of fruit drinks.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines fruit juice as either natural or 100% concentrate without added sweeteners.
(1) Fruit drinks are defined as calorically sweetened beverages with a small percentage of fruit juice or juice flavoring containing carbonated water
(2) Fruit drinks have less than 20% concentrate and nectars have around 20 to 99% concentrate. Sometimes, fortifiers such as vitamin C or calcium are also added to the fruit drinks. Fruits and 100% juices contain water, simple carbohydrates (sucrose, fructose, glucose, sorbitol), high amount of vitamins (C, A) and minerals (potassium, calcium etc.)(1). However fruit drinks, even 100% juice is not equivalent to whole fruits.
Fruits supply fibers and phytochemicals to diet, which are not present in juices. Fruit juice devoids the child of opportunities to learn skills like peeling, chewing, and differentiating between colors, textures and shapes.
Fruit drinks, thought to be complete source of energy, vitamins and minerals are actually a mere sweet drinks and poor source of nutrition. Whole fruits are less calorigenic as compared to fruit juices and fruit drinks.
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE (RDA) Fruits are one of the 5 major food groups in food pyramid. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that those who require 1600 Kilocalories
(1-4 years of age) require 2 fruit servings and those who require 2800 Kilocalories (10-18 years of age) require 4 fruit servings.In them 50% can be provided as fruit juice (not fruit drink) with each serving of 6 oz. No juices are recommended for infants less than 6 months of age.
The committee advocates and encourages use of fruits as compared to juices to meet the daily requirements and energy balance. However, fruit intake in diet is found to be low.
In Americanchildren, only 80% of the RDA is met for fruits and that too 54% from fruit juices. The pattern of juice consumption in one study was as follows: mixed (39%), apple (30%), orange (23%), grape (7%), and pear (1%)(8). Corresponding data are not available for Indian children.